Posted in GAP News, Mississippi Art News

ARTSEDGE: Reading into Action

This week’s featured lesson from ArtsEdge, the Kennedy Center’s educational media site, explores bringing stories to life through physical movement. This helpful overview is a Tipsheet on their How To section. Learn more about bringing stories to life into your daily teaching after the jump!

Choose the Right Story Not all stories lend themselves to becoming good physical education activities. You’ll need one that has a lot of action that will require students to move around. Don’t limit yourself to prose—poems and songs work well, too.

Planning the Lesson Once you have selected a story, break out the elements that can be part of the activity. Consider setting your classroom space up into different stations, and break your students into small groups to cycle through. At each station, students are prompted to complete a task or activity related to an element of the story. You might also choose to design an obstacle course that uses the same theme or setting as the story. Or, the activity could be a set of staged movements (similar to a dance) that allow students to act out the story as it is read aloud.

Teaching the Lesson It is important to make sure that you integrate the reading of the story into the lesson. If you make the story an afterthought, the students will not make the connections that make this type of activity so beneficial. Be sure the class has read the story before beginning the activity, though do try to incorporate additional reading into the activity. Depending on the ages of your students, you might make student reading part of the lesson.

An Example: The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter

You can find an online version of this story here: Peter Rabbit Full Text

After reading the story, set up a series of stations that relate to the passages listed below. Students will move from one to the next after each passage is read (either by the students or the teacher). Students can pass through the stations one at a time, in small groups, or as a class. You might also choose to have some students be Peter and some Mr. McGregor or you may decide to play Mr. McGregor yourself. If time permits, the entire story can be read during the activity.

  • But Peter, who was very naughty, ran straight away to Mr. McGregor’s garden, and squeezed under the gate! Set up an obstacle to act as the gate. Students must squeeze underneath it to continue the journey.
  • Peter was most dreadfully frightened; he rushed all over the garden, for he had forgotten the way back to the gate. Set up cones or other obstacles that force students to run an erratic pattern “all over the garden”.
  • After losing them, he ran on four legs and went faster, so that I think he might have got away altogether if he had not unfortunately run into a gooseberry net, and got caught by the large buttons on his jacket. At this point, students must move on all fours as fast as they can to the next station.
  • And rushed into the tool-shed, and jumped into a can. Students run to the next station, finishing with jumps into containers of adequate size. Be sure the containers have low sides and will not tip over.
  • Presently Peter sneezed–‘Kertyschoo!’ Mr. McGregor was after him in no time. After pretending to sneeze, students run a path of your choosing to the next station.
  • Peter got down very quietly off the wheelbarrow; and started running as fast as he could go, along a straight walk behind some black-currant bushes. Set up a straight sprint for this station.
  • Mr. McGregor caught sight of him at the corner, but Peter did not care. He slipped underneath the gate, and was safe at last in the wood outside the garden. Finish the journey by sending students back under the gate they started from.

This story is set in a garden. You can be as creative as you wish when setting up and designing your garden.

What are you waiting for? Get moving on bringing some stories to life with your students. The possibilities are endless. Have fun!

via ARTSEDGE: Reading into Action.



The mission of the Greenville Arts Council is to promote the rich cultural heritage of the region and stimulate and encourage cultural activities, arts appreciation, arts education, and the creative works of artists. Some of the responsibilities that help define the Greenville Arts Council as the primary promoter of the arts in our area include offering art classes to children and adults, organizing community events, presenting an ongoing series of free exhibits featuring visual artists from the area and the state, and coordinating educational programs which teach arts-integration in local schools. The Greenville Arts Partnership between the Greenville Arts Council, the Greenville Public School District and our three community arts partners, Delta Center Stage, Delta Symphony Association and the Delta Children’s Museum, is focused on full arts integration in the GPSD elementary schools. Plentiful research documents the value of the teaching in and through the arts to help students understand core academic concepts on a deep level. The partnership was the first in the state of Mississippi accepted into the Kennedy Center Partners in Education Program in 2003, joining over 100 other partnerships between school districts and arts organizations across the country. The partnership provides professional development for teachers, arts experiences for students and resource and referral on arts integration issues. Professional development has been provided in two ways, through workshops with Teaching Artists from the Kennedy Touring Roster and grade-level and/or discipline-specific professional development with our local staff. We present a series of model demonstration lessons to teachers in grades K to 6, demonstrating connections between Partnership free arts programming and required state frameworks. The partner arts groups present a series of live performances allowing each elementary child in the GPSD to attend at least once each year. The groups work with the Arts Council staff to develop accompanying curriculum-based educational material for distribution to teachers prior to each performance. Over the years, we have succeeded in providing basic arts integration training district-wide as well as in-depth professional development to allow groups of teachers to increase their level of mastery.